Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Show #247: R.I.P. Don Van Vliet

December 30th, 2011

I am going to round out my trio of shows by musos we lost in the past year or so with a one by Captain Beefheart.

cb1972 01 22 Show #247: R.I.P. Don Van Vliet
(Photo found here.)

Like Gil Scott-Heron, I know little about Captain Beefheart. I have certainly listened to some of his music and know of his association with Frank Zappa and that Trout Mask Replica is generally considered his masterpiece but that’s about it. This being the case, I’ll quote some of the recollections from this evening that came with the recording.

Steve: Opening act was a guy with 4-5 real monkeys at one point riding bicycles seated on their heads peddling with their feet. Was the Captain trying to set the mood?

Milton Moore: The curtain rose at the Fenway Theater to reveal a most astonishing event. The marquee out front billed Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band, but onstage, amid the array of equipment, stood one lone magician, bassist Rockette Morton (Mark Boston), clad in bright orange with a panama hat and an amazing moustache. He dipped low, pointed his bass menacingly at the audience, and began to swing. Rockette sailed into a free flowing, melodic bass solo, not the farting, one-note syncopations that a rock bassist would perform, but full chords, falling into each other in a delicate cascade. He swayed and played and danced around the stage for a full five minutes before ending casually, as if he had scarcely noticed he had been playing at all. The audience, to a man, was mystified.

Only a few months after this concert Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band would be supporting Jethro Tull on their east coast tour of the States. Those must have been some crazy, fantastic nights.

This was recorded at the Fenway Theatre in Boston on 22 January 1972. Here’s the line-up that my show notes have although the webpage where I grabbed the above photo indicates that Roy Estrada was not yet with the band at this point.

Captain Beefheart/Don Van Vliet: vocals, saxophone, harmonica
Rockette Morton/Mark Boston: bass guitar, guitar
Oréjon/Audi Hon/Roy Estrada: bass guitar
Zoot Horn Rollo/Bill Harkleroad: guitar, slide guitar
Winged Eel Fingerling/Elliot Ingber: guitar, slide guitar
Ed Marimba/Art Tripp: drums, percussion, marimba


Taper’s Intro
Hair Pie: Bake III
When It Blows Its Stacks
Japan In A Dishpan
Click Clack
Grow Fins
I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby
Old Black Snake
Abba Zaba
Alice In Blunderland
Spitball Scalped A Baby

Download show

Captain Beefheart

This is “Click Clack” recorded in Paris sometime in 1972.

Related posts:

  1. Show #65: Bad Livers
  2. Show #141: Beware of the Dog (Hound Dog Taylor)
  3. Show #41: Bill Monroe (mini)
  4. Show #198: Those Darlins
  5. Show #161: The Stills-Young Band

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